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Sean Martin, Tony Haggerty and Aidan Macdonald pick their top three Celtic players across the calendar year 2022...

Sean Martin

1. Callum McGregor. For all Jota's uncontainable brilliance, Cameron Carter-Vickers' dependable excellence and Kyogo Furuhashi's talismanic popularity, there is only one man every other player truly looks for in moments big or small: McGregor. His influence on this team, this squad, goes well beyond the 90 minutes of a matchday; his fingerprints were all over the winning run during his injury even though he wasn't playing and, let's be honest, you'll never find any Celtic player willing to choose anyone else for best trainer either, will you? The song says there's no one better for a reason.

2. Cameron Carter-Vickers. His impact on Celtic's defence has been fundamental; that most of the rearguard experienced a dip in form for the small stretches he was absent tells you that. He never lapses out of form himself and took the armband with aplomb when McGregor went down. He’s a very unlucky silver medallist here.

3. Greg Taylor. His reputational makeover in the eyes of the Celtic support might be Postecoglou's greatest achievement. It was always thus with me, as regular readers and viewers of the Celtic Briefing will know, but it's nice to see him get that wider acceptance all the same. The performances he has put in back it up though. A standout in virtually every big game during the latter half of the 2021-22 season, he started this one on fire too and even scaled his performances to the Champions League ably. I once posited that such was his clear and growing influence in the team that he'd one day wear the armband - if that ever comes true, nobody can say he hasn't earned it.

Tony Haggerty

1. Callum McGregor. I've picked Celtic's captain fantastic because he has assumed the role of skipper seamlessly from Scott Brown. No fanfare, no frills. McGregor is Ronseal; he does exactly what it says on the tin. A sublimely talented footballer who is vastly underrated and an inspirational leader of men, McGregor capped a dream season with the armband by leading the Hoops to a double at the end of last term. This season, his snapshot off the post against Real Madrid at Parkhead remains a real 'what if' moment in his career while his flawless performance at Ibrox in April in the 2-1 victory over Rangers will be cause for celebration and is the stuff of legend. That story alone will warm the cockles of his heart long after his playing days are gone.

2. Jota. Every July 1 from here on in should be known as Jota Day. The Portuguese winger was the summer signing that captured the imagination like no other and reduced grown men and women to tears after he committed his future to Celtic. The superstar from Portugal made a huge impression while on loan last season, scoring 13 goals and providing 14 assists in 40 appearances in all competitions - five of the goals and eight of the assists came this year. His seven goals from 21 appearances already this campaign have given the Celtic supporters some moments to cherish. His beautiful dinked finish in the 4-0 victory over Rangers and subsequent iconic goalscoring pose is one for the ages while the sublime free-kick in the Bernabeu in front of his family was a real feel-good football story. Jota's dribbling, crossing and passing are already at a truly elite level yet the player himself admitted that he signed for Celtic because he fell in love. The feeling is rather mutual.

Celtic Way:

3. Matt O'Riley. This man is a baller. I could really end my rationale right there and then. While Cameron Carter-Vickers may well have featured in my top three I'm a sucker for a footballer with silky skills who knows the game inside out and makes it look like an art form. One-touch, two-touch, give-and-gos, clarity of vision... this guy possesses the lot. With drive, pace and energy, he is no slouch in the dark arts department either. The Denmark under-21 international was unlucky to just miss out on World Cup duty for the senior side in Qatar but, trust me, his time will come on the international stage. This lad is going places, fans should enjoy him while they can.

Aidan Macdonald

1. Cameron Carter-Vickers. It is hard to put into words how vital the American has been during 2022. As a centre-back he can do it all: play it out from the back, mark opponents out the game, dominate in the air and also whip his team-mates into shape if need be. Fans were delighted when he became a permanent signing in the summer and it is easy to see why. There are plenty of defensive highlights to choose from, such as his assured performance at Ibrox against Rangers in March, a game in which he also scored the match-winning goal. Also, despite Postecoglou’s side struggling at times in the Champions League, the 24-year-old is a player who never looked out of his depth at that level. He has played 44 times this year and never not been one of the best performers.

2. Callum McGregor. What a 12 months it has been for the midfielder. A year that started off with him picking up a serious facial injury, which fans feared would keep him out for a lengthy period of time, ended with him being a double-winning Celtic captain. He is also in a great position to potentially repeat that feat or even better it in 2023. The 29-year-old has been a stalwart in the middle of the park, from his heroic comeback with the mask during a 3-0 thrashing of Rangers to his recent late winner against Aberdeen, he has been a joy to watch. After his appointment as captain, some supporters were concerned about whether he could live up to Scott Brown’s time as a leader. Nobody is worried about that now.

3. Jota. The superstar from Portugal, as the song goes. The 23-year-old has contributed 12 goals and 13 assists across all competitions in 2022; a very good return given, like the other two players who are on my list, he is someone who has had spells out injured. His ability to produce a bit of match-winning magic at the drop of a hat is an invaluable asset for the Hoops. It is not unfair to say he is one of the most skilful players to have graced Parkhead over the last 15 to 20 years. Highlights for Jota would have to include his goal up at Ross County near the end of last season to effectively clinch the league title and his dinked finish against Rangers in the most recent Glasgow Derby.

Celtic Way:

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